Baby Reindeer Creators May Have Hurt Their Chances In Fiona Harvey Lawsuit Due To This One Line, Lawyers Claim

Baby Reindeer Richard Gadd as Donny Dunn Jessica Gunning as Martha Scott

I don’t think anyone was surprised when Fiona Harvey – the woman who claims to be the ‘real Martha’ from Richard Gadd‘s Baby Reindeer sued the streaming giant for $170 million, but did anyone take it seriously? I sure didn’t! 

Well, it turns out she may have a case after all, according to two entertainment lawyers. 

It simply comes down to five little words that appeared on Netflix’s runaway hit: “This is a true story.”

White text reading 'this is a true story' on a black background from Baby Reindeer

This line appeared in Episode 1. (Image: Netflix)

A Los Angeles-based attorney, Tre Lovell from The Lovell Firm, told Business Insider Harvey’s case is “very strong” – if she can show how the TV programme made her “readily identifiable” and “made false claims”. There’s a bunch of ifs there, but it means it isn’t as clear-cut as one might think. 

Lovell went on to explain that while there is a disclaimer at the end of the show, saying, “This program is based on real events: however certain characters, names, incidents, locations, and dialogue have been fictionalised for dramatic purposes”, not everybody would have read or noticed it. 

Jessica Gunning as Martha Scott in Netflix show Baby Reindeer

Jessica Gunning played Martha Scott on the show. (Image: Netflix)

Another attorney, Camron Dowlatshahi from Mills Sadat Dowlat LLP echoed this, saying: “The argument will be, ‘Well, a consumer is looking at that and thinking everything in this is true, and you’re purposely hiding the disclaimer about fictionalising the characters on the back end.”

“Then when you follow it up with press saying everything is true, then that’s where the issue is.”

Netflix released a statement in response to Harvey’s lawsuit, saying: “We intend to defend this matter vigorously and to stand by Richard Gadd’s right to tell his story.”

In the press Gadd has been undertaking since the show was released, he’s been careful to distance his show from being a documentary

“[The story was] tweaked slightly to create dramatic climaxes… It’s very emotionally true, obviously: I was severely stalked and severely abused. But we wanted it to exist in the sphere of art, as well as protect the people it’s based on,” he told The Guardian back in April. 

He also urged internet sleuths to stop trying to identify the real people Baby Reindeer was based on, but this fell on deaf ears. 

Piers Morgan and 'real Martha' Fiona Harvey on Piers Morgan Uncensored

Fiona Harvey went on Piers Morgan’s show claiming to be the ‘real Martha’. (Image: YouTube/Piers Morgan Uncensored)

Richard Gadd praises Netflix after Fiona Harvey files Baby Reindeer lawsuit

While Gadd hasn’t said anything directly about Harvey’s lawsuit, he recently thanked Netflix for helping bring his story to life. 

While accepting an award for Best Breakthrough Limited Series at the Gotham TV Awards, he shared his disbelief. 

“Thanks to Netflix, for everything. I never thought in a million years, that this dark, weird, messed up show would go on to have this universal love that it’s received and I’m so grateful to them for giving us this platform to tell the story to the world,” he said. 

“I really hope you get everything out of this show, you all really deserve to. It’s kind of weird also, that I think a show as messed up as this has gone on to strike a chord with so many people, and I think it speaks to the fact that I think a lot of people in the world are struggling right now.”

He concluded by promising “things get better” for anybody “in a rut”, and told them to keep persevering. 

With the way Harvey has been making a splash in the public eye lately, I’m sure there will be more updates to come.

Feature image: Netflix